Statement on Racism, Cultural Appropriation and Safer Spaces

This statement has been written to formalise Action for Trans Health’s position, aspirations, and commitments regarding problems of racism and cultural appropriation within the UK trans community. It will go on to form an integral part of a wider safer-spaces policy for the organisation.

Action for Trans Health seeks to be a safe space for all trans people to organise for our liberation. We recognise that the UK trans community has an ongoing problem with racism, cultural appropriation and a colonialist attitude towards trans liberation in the global south. Transmisogyny and binarism has its roots in colonialist violence and this structures the way that we talk about and experience gender. As such, we feel anti-racism and decolonialisation is key to gender liberation.  It is necessary for Action for Trans Health to commit to opposing racism by creating safer structures and spaces and by expecting our white members to recognise their white privilege and seek to reduce its impact on others. This will hopefully ensure that we can create spaces where all trans people feel safe and empowered to organise for trans healthcare.

Safer Spaces

Trans people of colour’s right to exist is not up for debate. As such, Action for Trans Health operates a safer spaces policy both online and offline regarding racist behaviour. We commit to moderating our online spaces so that racist comments are deleted and the commenters warned / banned. We commit to challenging racist behaviour at events we organise and events we attend, and reserve the right to require that people leave our events if they are being racist. We recognise that people with white privilege are sometimes blinded by that privilege when it comes to racism and so people of colour have a better understanding of what is racist and what isn’t. As such, we commit to trusting people of colour about their experiences of racism. Some examples of racist behaviour include:

– the use of racial slurs against marginalised groups;

– romanticising indigenous non-binary identities and the cultural appropriation of those identities;

– cultural appropriation including exhibiting dress, hairstyles, tattoos, that are considered racist by people of colour; and

– expecting people of colour to take on the role of educator. It is not the responsibility of people of colour to educate white people about their racism.

Spaces for People of Colour

We recognise that privileged voices often dominate conversations within our spaces. As such, we commit to creating a people of colour caucus at our gatherings. This caucus can then decide how it wants to operate within the structure of Action for Trans Health; whether it wants to elect representatives to committees, run autonomous campaigns, or simply provide a people of colour only space to discuss issues and events.

Working with other organisations

Action for Trans Health commits to not working with, sharing a platform with, or accepting money from, any far right, fascist, or racist organisations. This commitment extends to not working with, sharing a platform with, or accepting money from the police (including the National Trans Police Association).

Allocation of Grants

Action for Trans Health fundraises to give individual trans people grants in order to facilitate their access to healthcare. As trans healthcare is currently in crisis, it is expected that for the foreseeable future demand for grants will always outweigh our capacity to fundraise. As such, we commit to prioritising grant allocations towards members of marginalised groups. We also commit to ensuring that our 3-person grant allocations committee will always have at least one person of colour on it, or it will not be able to operate.

Further Reading

6 reasons why we need safe spaces

On cultural exchange and cultural appropriation

Binarism: myths and reality

Why No Platform is still relevant and the trouble with liberal ‘anti-fascism’